In the immortal words of Bette Midler, you’ve got to have friends. Friendship is important at every stage of life, but for seniors, it may be imperative. One study showed that loneliness may be as detrimental to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (according to the National Institute on Aging). Additionally, loneliness can chop a whole 15 years off somebody’s life! Yes, friendship is imperative for seniors. Maybe you’re in dire need of friends, but you’re not sure where to start. Fortunately, you’re already in the right place! Here are 10 ways to make friends after 60.
Technology can be intimidating for some seniors, but it can also be a wonderful place to meet friends! Better yet, you don’t even have to leave the house—the perfect alternative for older adults who may be homebound or suffering from chronic conditions. While you can always try to reconnect with old school chums through Facebook, try to strike up new friendships, too! In fact, there are websites designed for older adults to make those special connections. Senior Forums is one such place. Buzz50 is a social networking site that’s like Facebook—only, it’s made for the 50+ community!
Whether you have a green thumb or struggle to coax a seedling to sprout, community gardening might be the ticket to making new friends! Community gardens may be established by churches, neighborhoods, or clubs (according to the Los Angeles Community Garden Council). This may be the perfect place for older adults to meet friends of all ages—and beautify their town in the process!
Senior citizen centers exist exactly for older adults to meet each other. Studies have proven that senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and overall life satisfaction compared to their peers. Many offer educational programs and art classes, in addition to fun recreational activities. What better place to dive into a pool of potential friends?
Many gyms offer senior fitness classes. From Zumba Gold to Silver Sneakers, there are plenty of programs designed for older adults. Not only is taking a fitness class an excellent way to stay in shape, but it’s also a place where you can meet friends!
Do you have a cause that you’re passionate about? Or do you want to give back to your community in some way? Volunteering is a great way to help others. From serving meals at the local soup kitchen to ushering at the local theater, there are countless volunteer opportunities right in your backyard. Better yet, you may even be able to make a few friends in the process!
Adopting a pet has countless benefits for older adults—companionship, stress relief, and exercise, to name a few. Of course, it also presents the opportunity to make friends with fellow pet owners! If you’re a dog owner, you could always check out the local dog park. Some cities have pet cafés, where you can bring your furry friend for an afternoon of socialization, yummy treats, and coffee (for the humans).
In today’s fast-paced, digitized world, a lot of people no longer know their neighbors. Gone are the days where you could walk next-door to borrow a cup of sugar. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way! If you long for the days when you were on a first name basis with all your neighbors, make it your goal to meet them! Take a walk around the neighborhood or organize a block party. Who knows? Maybe your neighbors were itching for the chance to meet you, too!
Learning doesn’t have to stop the day you throw your graduation cap in the air. If you’re a senior who misses your school days, enroll in a few lifelong learning classes! Many local colleges offer them. It’s the perfect place to find like-minded adults with a passion for learning. In other words—some new friends!
Maybe you’re retired and have too much time on your hands. Or maybe you refuse to retire, even though your full-time job has become a little too taxing. Whatever the case, a part-time job might be the answer! And here’s the best part—your new workplace might just open the doors for friendships and social opportunities.
Whether you live in a small town or a big city, there’s a pretty good chance it’s host to a number of local events. It might be a music festival that’s an annual summer fixture, or a Christmas parade that’s been making its way through your town every year since you were a child. Next time you attend a local event, talk to someone you’ve never met. Be willing to get to know a friend of a friend better. Armed with a smile and a friendly attitude, you’ll have no trouble attracting new friends.
Whether you live alone or with a partner, or, actively seeking a roomie, here are some resources to check out:
Originally published January 12, 2023